PHILIP GRANGE (b.1956): Ghosts of Great Violence, JOHN CASKEN (b.1949): Choses en moi, CAMDEN REEVES (b.1974): Fireworks Physonect Siphonophore (String Quartet No. 1), Dactylozooid Complex (String Quartet No. 2), RICHARD WHALLEY (b.1974): Interlocking Melodies.

Catalogue Number: 07R064

Label: Metier

Reference: msv 28546

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Reeves' quartets are named for species of bizarre aquatic invertebrates that behave in some respects like a single organism, but have components with specific and individual characteristics - analogous to the string quartet, as the composer points out. 'Colonies' of different material, from frenetic and harshly noise-textured to pointillistic to ethereal and unstructured interact to form larger structures. Whalley's piece is an homage to Ligeti, inspired by an abstract painting by de Kooning, with a quality of weightlessness that the composer likens to Ligeti's music. The work is based on four whole-tone scales tuned quarter-tones apart. The Casken begins with fast, motoric material that is overtaken by an impassioned outburst, leading to a passage of melodic solos that lead the work to a far more tonally settled resolution. The main work here is Grange's four-movement work inspired by visits to WWI battle sites and works of art and literature describing the horrors that occurred there, especially the harrowing 'Gassed', improbably painted by the great portraitist John Singer Sargent, the subject of the stumbling, strained second movement. The music is constantly tense and unresolved, broadly tonal but with extreme dissonances and glissandi. The third movement is an aggressive scherzo; the finale begins with insubstantial ghostly fragments and shards of melody, which increasingly coalesce into the work's main climax, an agonised tutti exchange between parts. Quatuor Danel.


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